Lennon, Weinberg, Inc.
This exhibition of recent works by Richard Kalina demonstrates his command of a unique method of working that yields distinctive results. The exhibition will include eight new paintings, varied in composition and structure, linked by a common vocabulary of shape and vibrant color. In Kalina's hands, grids and geometric shapes bend and yield against each other, planes undulate, colors press forward and recede.
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The paintings, as we call them, are not really painted. Upon a fine linen ground laid down on panel, Kalina collages small pieces of painted paper torn into roughly rectangular shapes, overlapping them slightly along their edges. The overlaps become perceptually similar to the grout between mosaic tiles and further animate the stripes, bands, and squares by introducing shifts in tone and saturation into each area of color. The colors appear and reappear in different combinations among this group of paintings - primaries and secondaries all juicy and bright. A few paintings have a background color, such as the cobalt violet of Pondicherry and the rich crimson of A Garden in Trastevere; in Albert's Landing and others the bands and shapes of color abut and suggest a woven pattern overall.
Closely related are a series of ink and watercolor drawings. Meticulously organized and drawn, Kalina has created works in which our expectation that the artist is following a system is confounded by his embrace of improvisation. There is a rhythmic pulse to the Easter-egg ovals suspended in the fine-gauge grid of Hyderabad and to the inset squares of Rondo. The most recent watercolor in the show, appropriately titled Harbinger, has a grid of squares bearing what might be coded symbols or flags and suggests a range of new possibilities for future paintings and drawings.
Richard Kalina (b. 1946) has had six exhibitions at Lennon, Weinberg since 1993. He contributes feature articles to Art in America, and teaches at Fordham University. Kalina lives and works in New York City and East Hampton.